Chicken Satay (Sate Ayam or 鸡肉沙爹)



I seriously doubt any Malaysians, Singaporeans and Indonesians do not know satay, never try satay or if tried, do not like satay. Satay is a childhood dish and it is such a very famous international dish. A Google of satay recipes will lead you to international major food websites such as Food Network, BBC Food and etc. Even Nigella Nelson also have a recipe..Of course, I will use the more authentic local recipes that uses local herbs and spices.


“Satay (/ˈsæteɪ/, /ˈsɑːteɪ/ sah-tay), modern Indonesian and Malay spelling of sate, is a dish of seasoned, skewered and grilled meat, served with a sauce.[1] Satay may consist of diced or sliced chicken, goat, mutton, beef, pork, fish, other meats, or tofu; the more authentic version uses skewers from the midrib of the coconut palm frond, although bamboo skewers are often used. These are grilled or barbecued over a wood or charcoal fire, then served with various spicy seasonings. Satay originated in Java, Indonesia.It is available almost anywhere in Indonesia, where it has become a national dish.It is also popular in many other Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, the Philippines, as well as in Suriname and the Netherlands, as Indonesia and Suriname are former Dutch colonies. Satay may be served with a spicy peanut sauce dip, or peanut gravy, slivers of onions, cucumbers, and ketupat (rice cakes). Mutton satay is usually served with kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) instead of peanut sauce. Pork satay can be served in a pineapple-based satay sauce or cucumber relish. An Indonesian version uses a soy sauce-based dip. “(Source:


Since this is such a famous dish, there will be thousands recipes.. Even within Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, there are many variants to satay. It can be beef, chicken parts, pork and etc… Satay is usually served with the peanut gravy and every stalls appeared to have their unique concoction of herbs in the preparation of satay gravy and that differentiate one store from the others.


The most important ingredients of preparing satay in my humble opinion are turmeric and lemon grasses. These two potent herbs are responsible to make the meat very aromatic and give a distinctive flavour. Preparation is not difficult but need a bit of patience. In order to have a flavourful stick of meat, marinating the meat for at least a night is required.


Satay usually comes with some burnt flavour in the meat. Traditionally, it was grilled over charcoal pit resembling the current barbecue pit. Living in the high rise apartment of Singapore, this method is not really applicable and I have resorted to the use of oven.  As an advise, if there is a way to grill the meat in open space, the taste will definitely  be  different as compare to oven grilled..


For my international readers, satay are usually served with cucumber wedges, compressed rice cake called lontong or ketupat, big onion and some places have freshly sliced pineapple to go with the dish.



Servings : about 20 sticks of chicken satay


Chicken marinating

  • 500 grams of boneless chicken drumsticks, cut into small pieces
  • 5 shallots
  • 6 cloves of garlics
  • 3 stalks of lemon grass
  • 4 small size fresh turmeric
  • 3 cm long galangal
  • 1.5 tablespoons of cumin powder
  • 1.5 tablespoons of coriander powder
  • 6 tablespoons of castor sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of dark soya sauce
  • Pinches of salt


  • 250 grams of peanut powder
  • 50 ml or grams of coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste (Add 1/2 cup of water and extract juices)
  • 2 lemon grasses (white portion only)
  • 3 big red colour onion.
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 5 candlenuts or buah keras (soaked until soft)
  • 1 tablespoon of chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon of shrimp paste
  • 5 tablespoons of castor sugar or palm sugar
  • 5 tablespoons of peanut oil


  • 1 medium size cucumber- cut into wedges
  • 1 big red colour onion, cut into small pieces
  • 300 grams of lontong or ketupat
  • About 20 satay sticks



PicMonkey Collage1

  • Cut the meat in the size of about 2cm x 4 cm x 1cm. It is unavoidable that some are big and some are small and it is acceptable as it will not be obvious after cooking.

  • Put all the chicken marinating ingredients (except chicken) in a blender. Add a small quantity of water to facilitate blending. Blend until as fine as possible. Transfer the paste to the chicken stripes. Marinate the chicken for at least overnight  in the fridge for flavour to develop. In this step, you can see if the colour is what is you prefer. If you prefer more yellowish, add a bit more turmeric powder. If you prefer darker version, add more dark soya sauce.

PicMonkey Collage2

  • Pre-heat the oven to 220 degree Celsius on the grill mode.

  • Thread the chicken meat on the satay sticks and line properly in the baking tray. Grill the chicken for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes , turn over and grill for another 10 minutes. Chicken can get cook rather fast. By 5-10 minutes, your chicken shall be cooked. What you are doing now is to grill for colour and “burnt” taste like over the charcoal stove.  You will need to keep and eye and decide on the colour tone  and the type of texture you required. The longer it is grilled, the drier will be the meat.

PicMonkey Collage3

  • Blend the lemon grass, onion, candlenuts, shrimp paste and garlic until fine. Add some water to facilitate blending if required.

  • Extract the assam or tamarind juices and set aside.

  • In a pan, add the peanut oil, sauté the spice paste in the blender until fragrant and oil starts to seep out from the rempah. In this process, you will witness oil starts to separate from the herbs and the colour of the rempah starts to darken. Add the tamarind or assam juices, coconut milk, sugar and salt to taste. Bring to boil. Add the grounded peanuts, stir until well combined and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. If the sauce are too thick, add a bit of hot water.

  • A standard way of serving is to have the cut onion, cucumber wedges and cut ketupat or lontong place at the side of the chicken satay. Put next to it is a bowl of satay sauce for the diner to dip the satay.


  • You can easily prepare homemade peanut powder by baking the raw skinless peanuts in the oven at 150 degree Celsius for about 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye as peanut can get burnt easily.  Thereafter transfer to a food processor for blending.

  • I like my peanut sauce a bit sweet. It is advisable that you gradually add the sugar during the cooking.



This is my last dish to celebrate 2015 Hari Raya. Every satay stores have different unique satay sauce and its grilled chicken. I hope this recipe will provide reader a starting point to try prepare some home made satay and subsequently adjust to suit your family’s taste buds. Using oven is the last resort and I would advise this be prepared for your next barbecue outing.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.



3 thoughts on “Chicken Satay (Sate Ayam or 鸡肉沙爹)

  1. Looking forward to trying your chicken satay receipe! And others as well! Can you add me to your blogger /email etc ? Best regards ! Raymond

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